These articles were published in the Spectacular Slovakia travel guide, published annually by The Slovak Spectator since 1996. The latest editions can be obtained from our online shop.

Lúčka: Outpost of rebellion

By James Thomson

    The remains of the Hussite church in Lúčka
 The remains of the Hussite church in Lúčka
 Photos by James Thomson

Prague, the spiritual home of the Hussites (the followers of the Czech religious reformer Jan Hus, executed in the Czech capital in 1415), is a long way from south-east Slovakia.

Yet in Lúčka, a small village high up in the hills of the Slovenský Kras area, are the ruins of a church established by Hussites who left Bohemia during the religious conflicts of the fifteenth century and finally settled here.

The church is oriented north-west, towards Prague, and though deconsecrated is still the site of an annual ceremony to mark Hus's burning at the stake (an event commemorated by the well-known statue of Hus in Prague's Old Town Square).

The Hussites' influence remains in other ways. The division between the villagers who converted to Protestantism under their influence and those who later converted back to Catholicism is still visible in the design of the houses: the houses of Protestants have a cup carved into their wooden eaves; Catholics' houses have a cross. Until recent times, Catholic graves were oriented south, while Protestants faced north.

The village, of about 200 people, is very pretty, with a stream running through it and benches, old farming implements and even an ancient fire pump scattered around. Though it's a placid spot now it has seen some violence over the years, with Counter-Reformation forces attacking in 1712 and hanging Protestant resisters nearby. Much later, the Hussite church was destroyed after German forces used the village as a base in World War II.

The ruins of the church are in a windswept spot above the village with good views down the valley. The valley is now a backwater but was once an important trade route for horse-drawn traffic which used the Zádiel Gorge to cross the hills between Košice and Rožňava. The gorge road, to the east, is now closed to traffic and is a popular walking route.

These articles and related information were published in Spectacular Slovakia 2009, which you can obtain from our online shop.

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